Working Mothers: The Effect on a Child’s Development Introduction What is working mother? Working mother is defined as women who are married or not participating in the labour force for income to raise their children. Women start to be active in the labour force once they open the opportunity to the women to work and it is shown that there were a increasing rate of women in the labour force which is 71. 3% at the year of 2010 compare to the year of 1990 (66.
7%). It also happened because of the economic status on that particular year and the labour force that was needed.
Most of the women will continue working after the childbirth or when their maternity leaves end. In Asia, most of the women are very active in the labour force especially Hong Kong (51%), Singapore (57%) and Malaysia (44%)(The World Bank,2013). Mothers who work will help to support the family compared to those who are not working. This situation, however, it will bring challenges toward the child development.
Relationship It is a norm that women will take care of the family in the house and men give financial support toward the family. However, nowadays women also start to give financial supportby being involved in the labour force.
Mother and children have a strong connection when the infant was in the mother stomach for 10 months especially the baby girl. Bonding in the early age is very important, this not only will bring up a better family but also let the baby feel safe and trust toward the mother and baby will sense their mother by recognizing the smell and voice of their mother. Most of the mother will start working when their infant is two years old due to the leave that was giving by the company and also the fact that mothers think that their babies are big enough to be brought to the day care centre.
However some of the research proven it was wrong, although the most important period to bond between a child and mother is the first year of infant but it is not enough. When the mother start to work, the physical contact and affectionate play decreases as well as the time being together because the mother will spent almost half of the day working outside or inside. Working part time is the first choice of every mother because they will have more time to spend in the house with the family but they are wrong. As a women and a wife cooking or doing house work is their job even though there is a maid but they still eed to fulfil their part. For mother that worked, they need to prepare dinner for the whole family right after they finish work besides doing other housework such as laundry. Their job never end until they finish cleaning up the dinner dishes which mean mother have only a little time to spend with their child and mostly during bed time. This will bring a huge effect to the child up bringing especially the behaviour and also the health. Breastfeeding Breastfeed is a common thing that every mother will do once their baby was born.
Mothers are always blamed for the decreasing rate of breastfeeding when they return to the labour force. Based on the Ministry of Health Malaysia the breastfeeding activity decrease from 92%(1950) to 78% (1974). One of the reason they stop breastfeeding once they work is because of the maternity leave that they get from the company which is two months for those women who work in public sector and extra one more month for those who work in private sector. In addition, the breastfeeding policy is the other reason the mother give up breastfed.
In Malaysia, the breastfeeding policy has been developed in 1993, however is the policy being applied by the government or the private sector is still a question to be ask because the barrier of breastfed are not written in the policy. The period of the maternity that leave is not the main reason the mother stop breastfeeding, it is the breastfeeding policy applied in the work place. If the work place give flexibility of time to the mother to breastfed the infant most likely the mother will continue even when they are working.
Besides that, the socio-demographic of the family also contributed to why mothers stop breastfeeding. A study made in 2006 in Malaysia shows that when the monthly income of the family is less than RM 2500 they most probably will discontinue breastfeeding because the women will help to earn money to help up the financial problem while for those who earn RM 5000 and above the percentage of continued breastfeeding is higher which was (53. 8%). This is because they do not need to worry about the financial problem of the family.
Taken from the article: Work related determinants of breastfeeding discontinuation among employed mothers in Malaysia, International Breastfeeding Journal 2011 Health Mothers who are in the labour force usually breastfeed for shorter periods and they will try to give the best welfare to the child such as medical care. Mother who work will buy high protein and other nutritious food to replace the breast milk but that is not as good as breast milk and they will also buy health insurance for their infant.
Breast milk is the best food for the infant age between 1 to 3 because the colostrums ( thick yellow first breast milk that make during the pregnancy and after birth) is very rich with nutrients and antibodies to protect the infant and breast milk is more easy to be digest by the infant compare to the milk in the market and what most important breast milk can fight diseases such as asthma, diabetes and lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) which cannot been produce in the milk powder sold in the market (womenshealth. gov,2010).
It is different for those who have not enough income, health insurance did not slip in their mind because what they worry and care is to survive from what they have so, their only choice is breastfeeding. Child care centre seldom give protein and also nutritious food because it is expensive so they will give the older child junk food when they are hungry. Sport is never a deal for the child because none of the parent is free to accompany of teach them so they choose to sit for hours in front of the television rather than going out the sport .
Child with working mother will mostly get whatever they want because they can afford it but what they lost is the relationship between the mother and child due to the lack of the precious time being with the child. Behaviour The way that child behave have a huge connection from the parent especially mother. How they act or respond is all start from how the parent teaches them when they are young. Working mothers have more responsibility compare to non- working mother because they will have different role in the working place and also at home.
Mother has been expected to be lovely, caring and polite in the house but their emotional change when they have pressure from the work place. When they have problem in the work place which they cannot solve such as conflict with the boss, they will tend to transfer their anger toward their child. However mothers that mange to control their emotional and balance their time in the work place and also home give a positive impact toward the child behaviour. One of the benefit from working mother is the child have the opportunity to gain different experience from the day child care centre when the mother is working.
This give benefit to the child because they will learn to not get frighten by other or stranger especially when the child is at the age of 2 to 3 (Erika Youngberg, Wartburg College, 2011). Mother will still be able to work in their position as they wanted and still manage to spend time with their child and mother is the role model of every child especially the daughter. (Verropoulou & Joshi, 2009) The challenges and experience that mother face in the workplace “help influence their child-rearing values and provide a model of the kinds of behaviour they encourage in their children” (Parcel & Menaghan, 1994).
When there is good it always come with bad, working mother also bring effect toward how a child will behave when they grow up. It show a huge different in the psychology development between child that be taken care by their mother and the child care centre. A child will learn from the adult or other who close to them and they will learn whatever they see or hear. If the mother is working that mean the time that she spend with her child will be least and most of the time the child in interact with people in the child care centre and there is where they learn everything include how they will act.
The environment in the child care centre is a bit complicated compare to house because all of the children will be put in the same room and it hard for the care taker to pay attention to each or them. Majority of the bad behaviour of the child learnt from the child care centre. Based on the National Institute of Child Health and Development, mother that work before their child turn three months old show a clear behaviour problem when they are in the age of 4 and it reported by the caretaker and also teachers.
However, children did not show a serious behaviour when the mother work part-time compare to the mother who work full –time but it will only show a clear change toward the child behaviour when they are around age three and during first grade ( Brooks-Gunn, J. Han, W. , Waldfogel, J. 2010). Conclusion In conclusion, mothers who actively participate in the labour force will bring benefit and disadvantage toward the child development. The health of a child as well as the behaviour will be different is compare to a child that the mother did not work.
There are a few tips that could help the mother to achieve the balance between the working and the family life. The few tips that given out by the author are try to build up your supported organization, which mean help from the family and also colleague. Moreover, all the guilt must be let off because it is the most wastes of emotional energy and set your limit, avoid being a perfectionist it will only bring stress toward yourself (Natalie A. Gahrmann, 2013). With a the suggestion that is given out working mothers will be able to have better time management and the bring more positive impact toward the child development.
References -> Brooks-Gunn, J. Han, W. , Waldfogel, J. (2010), First-year maternal employment and child development in the first 7 years: Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Vol 75(2) -Womenshealths. gov, Breastfeeding: Why breastfeeding is important viewed 28 March 2013, <http://www. womenshealth. gov/breastfeeding/why-breastfeeding-is-important/>. -> Jatrana, Santosh, 2007, ‘Impact of Maternal employment on child health: the case of Haryana State in North India’ in Devasahayam,Theresa W & Yeoh, Brenda S.
A (eds), Working and mothering in Asia: image, ideologies and identities, NUS publishing, Singapore, pp. 136-169. -> Youngberg, E ,2011 ,’ Working mothers: work-life balance and relative cognitive effects on children’,Business Studies Journal; 2011 Supplement, Vol. 3, pp. 95-108 -> Amin, Rahmah Mohd. et al. 2011, ‘Work related determinants of breastfeeding discontinuation among employed mothers in Malaysia’, International Breastfeeding Journal; 2011, Vol. 6 Issue 1, pp. -6 -> Brunner,S 2009, Children Of working mothers are more likely to lead unhealthier lifestyles, Medical News Today, viewed 2 April 2013, <http://www. medicalnewstoday. com/articles/165481. php> -> International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database 2012, Labor participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15+), The World Bank, viewed 8 April 2013 ,< http://data. worldbank. org/indicator/SL. TLF. CACT. FE. ZS/countries>
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